Seven Matadors Earn All-Big West Honors Following 2011 Season

IRVINE, Calif. –

Seven Matadors earned All-Conference recognition for their performances in 2011 as the Big West Conference announced its annual postseason accolades as selected by a poll of conference coaches on Monday afternoon.

"I am honored to have this many players from our program being recognized, especially in the second rated conference in the country," said head coach Terry Davila. "I am also very happy for Junior Gonzalez, who won a much-deserved Coach of the Year award at UC Riverside."

Cal State Northridge senior midfielder Rafael Garcia headlined the awards for the Matadors as he was named to the All-Big West First Team for the first time in his career. Garcia was named to the Second Team twice, following the 2007 and 2010 seasons.

The Canoga Park, Calif., native finished the season with two goals and four points in 13 matches after missing the first six due to a knee injury. Both of Garcia's goals came on penalty kicks at UC Davis as the Matadors won 3-0 to earn their first victory against the Aggies since the 2005 season.

The Matadors had two players named to the All-Big West Second Team, as senior Nicholas Hamilton and sophomore Thomas Ramos each completed impressive years for Northridge.

Hamilton, a senior originally from Coronado, Calif., started all 18 matches he appeared in at center back. He routinely stopped the opposing attack and kept the ball out of danger and also recorded two assists on the year in matches against UNLV and Cal Poly.

Ramos, a forward from Phoenix, Ariz., led the Matadors in scoring this season after gathering five goals and four assists for 14 points. Ramos' highest scoring outputs came when he scored a goal and an assist in matches at CSU Bakersfield and against Seattle University. Ramos also scored goals at UC Davis, Cal Poly and UC Riverside.

In addition to the First and Second Team honors, four Matador players received an honorable mention by the league's coaches. Redshirt freshman Edwin Rivas, junior defender Joe Franco, junior midfielder Rene Anguiano and junior goalkeeper Michael Abalos were each recognized for their efforts this season.

Rivas tied for the team lead in goals with five while Franco tallied three assists. Anguiano added three assists of his own and filled in as the midfield general while Garcia was sidelined for the early part of the season. Abalos finished tied for second in the Big West with seven shutouts, a mark that is also tied for third-most for a single season in school history.

In all, the seven selections were tied with UC Santa Barbara for second most in the Big West, while conference champion UC Irvine placed eight on the lists. Northridge received two selections in 2010. The Matadors finished the 2011 season with an overall record of 8-8-3 and a 4-4-2 mark in Big West play.

Click Here for the Complete List of All-Big West Teams

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